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Friday, March 2, 2012

Thousands Evacuated and at least 99 Hospitalized due to Chemical Leak in the Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Ninety-nine people were hospitalized for suffocation, nausea and eye irritation, while thousands of residents were evacuated after a chemical leaked from an ice plant in a west coast village here.

The ammonia gas leak occurred around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday at the E & L Ice Plant located in Sitio Dumagasa, Ayala village, 16 kilometers west of the city, said the police.

Most of the victims were workers of the ice plant and members of the United Visayan Homeowners Association who are living nearby.

Renwel Balili, a checker of the E & L Ice Plant, said the ammonia gas leaked when an ice molder fell and hit one of the plant's cooling system pipes.

He said they were scheduled to produce ice for different fishing firms that are set to resume operation since the closed season for commercial fishing ended Wednesday when the incident happened.

The E & L Ice Plant has stopped operations and would only resume once the damaged cooling system pipe will be repaired or replaced, Balili said. Read More